South Africa must not be forced to take sides in geopolitics and should focus on getting into talks with its major trade partners to ensure trade relations are secured, said former president Kgalema Motlanthe.
The former statesman was speaking on the sidelines of the BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue taking place in Johannesburg this week.
“As we know from experience, you can’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies,” he said.
This comes on the back of a written parliamentary question penned by President Cyril Ramaphosa, that many countries in Africa were threatened with sanctions for not taking sides in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said it had been agreed that only President Xi Jinping of China, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi would attend the summit in Sandton.
Russia would be represented by Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov.
inance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel and Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni are also in Washington this week to hold discussions with senior officials in the US over the extension of the preferential trade agreement and investments and to push for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“So we have to try and get to talk to everybody across the globe and harp on the note of peace.
“Non partisan stance means you value your relations with literally everybody. Our biggest trading partner is the European Union.
“We should be speaking to the Europeans, we should be ensuring that those trade relations are secured. Our second biggest trading partner is China and we should be speaking to China to ensure our trade relations with China is solid. Our third trading partner is America, we should be speaking to the Americans to make sure that the trade relations are not in any way brought into jeopardy,” Motlanthe said.